7000 Miles in Emirates First Class for $920

Loyal reader Jerry F. sends me an interesting Emirates fare.

Emirates flies several ‘fifth freedom’ routes, flights between two countries other than the one in which they’re based. This sort of flight is typically short, the airline flies to one destination and continues on to another nearby destination to pick up and drop off passengers. They might not be able to support that third destination directly. Or they might want to overnight the aircraft at a nearby less expensive city.

Sometimes those short-distance flights can be cheap. It’s often quite reasonable to buy first class onboard an Emirates A380 between Hong Kong and Bangkok, for instance.

The fare between Harare, Zimbabwe and Lusaka, Zambia allows a connection in Dubai. So for the same price you can fly 6800 miles in Emirates first class instead of just 250 miles for the non-stop.

Here’s the cost:

That gets you the non-stop flight.

I’m not sure who is buying first class on this short flight. Probably nobody.

The same price also gets you this much flying:

The fare isn’t going to be useful to anyone at all, but I found it interesting when Jerry shared it with me. Presumably it’s just a careless way that Emirates has filed its fares. And someone wishing to fly a lot of Emirates first class — albeit on an Airbus A330 and not the Airbus A380 (and therefore no shower).

On the other hand, though, both Zimbabwe and Zambia offer visa on arrival for US passport holders and Zambia offers transit without visa as well…

This is sort of like Qatar’s Ho Chi Minh City – Phnom Penh business class fare for less than $250 with a connection in Doha.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Sean M. I don’t think Gary ruined the trick at all. EK would have fixed it anyway. I just wonder why loyal reader Jerry F. sent it to Gary.

  2. If this trick were on almost any other carrier, it would be very valuable (for earned/status miles), but since Skyward points are awarded on route instead of miles flown, I am fairly sure that even flying 6800 miles in F would net you very few points. And as you pointed out, since it is an A330, the experience wouldn’t be worth the hassle either.

  3. Wow, how convenient, I can definitely use this and am going to book it, it solves a positioning issue I had. I wonder what the AS crediting will workout. The only challenge is am I going to be able to actually do the trip I want to and how long before EK cancels my ticket.

  4. hmm interesting but most likely useless, unless you just needed to top off your AS account or reach MVP status etc. even then I questioning if its worth it to go out of your way incld positioning flights. not bad if you were planning to visit these countries.

    also no one has pointed this out, but one cant generalize EK F as all the same. AFAIK EK uses its shittiest aircrafts for such markets, and the A330 being one of their older planes, is most likely not going to be a pleasant flying experience, even in F. they arent usually maintained to the 2 yr standard that most other aircraft in their fleet go thru, esp the ones on more primo routes. the last time I flew an EK A330, I kid you not, just felt like barf everywhere – which ofcourse only makes you want to barf. the planes seem to be coming apart, so a lot of rattling, everything just feels loose. oh and old, did I mention that? I think EK might still have their old products in J & F still.

  5. I just flew Lusaka to Harare with an Ethiopian 787 in business. That was a direct flight but this would have been funner (albeit longer)!

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